Congressional Candidate Sentenced for Violating the Federal Election Campaign Act
WASHINGTON—Justin Lamar Sternad, 35, of Miami, Florida was sentenced to seven months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the Southern District of Florida for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act (Election Act) in connection with the 2012 Democratic Party primary election for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Sternad previously plead guilty to all counts of a criminal information that charged him with one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), one count of making false statements to the FEC and one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions.
Sternad was a candidate in the 2012 Democratic Party primary election for Florida’s 26th Congressional District. According to court documents, Sternad engaged in a conspiracy to accept illegal, direct and coordinated campaign contributions and file false statements with the FEC in order to conceal the true source, amount and nature of the funds used by his campaign.
Sternad admitted that his campaign accepted cash and checks in excess of Federal Election Campaign Act limits, and that he filed statements that intentionally misled the FEC about his campaign’s activities. During the campaign, illegal cash contributions from co-conspirators were used to pay for a rental car and the design, printing and distribution of campaign flyers.
According to court documents, Sternad reported to the FEC that he made loans to his campaign in the amount of $63,801, when he knew that he had actually loaned fewer than $300. In total, Sternad accepted over $70,000 in misreported campaign contributions.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Thomas J. Mulvihill and Richard C. Pilger, Director of the Election Crimes Branch of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.